Over the 31-year history of the Grand Forks International baseball tournament (GFI) there are many interesting stories involving players who have participated in this grand event.
Currently the movie Moneyball, based on the book by Michael Lewis (author of The Blind Side), highlights former GFI player Scott Hatteberg.
Hatteberg played in Grand Forks at the GFI in 1988 and 1989 with the Washington State Cougars and was selected in the first round of the 1991 draft by the Boston Red Sox.
In the movie his character – played by Chris Pratt – has a major role in the true story of the Oakland Athletics major league team adopting a new approach to building a winning team on a low budget.
Scott Hatteberg was a catcher in college, at the GFI and afterwards with Boston. In Oakland he was transformed into a first baseman, which was called by one, “A deeply satisfying scientific discovery.”
The infield coach for Oakland in 2002 was Ron Washington, now the manager of the Texas Rangers, who currently is managing his team in the World Series for the second year in a row.
The movie is playing at the GEM theatre in Grand Forks tonight and tomorrow night (Oct. 26 and 27). It has received excellent reviews by both critics and viewers. Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, is a very entertaining film with one movie critic, Lisa Rosman, commenting, “You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate Moneyball.”
And for Grand Forks and area residents there is the fascinating added dimension of someone who has been to our community and displayed his talents on the stage of beautiful James Donaldson Park.
Scott Hatteberg’s wife Elizabeth, or Bitsy, played by Tammy Blanchard, also plays a significant role in the movie. They live not far from here in Gig Harbor, Wash.
-submitted by Gerry Foster